October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month! According to the Federal Trade Commission, each year, approximately 15 million Americans are identity theft victims with financial losses to the country totaling close to $50 billion.
It’s important to detect suspicious activity before it results in full-blown identity theft. You must be alert at all times, especially when credit is denied for no reason, when bills don’t arrive as usual, or when websites lack privacy notices or policies.
There are countless ways to detect possible threats:
- Verify any and all requests for personal data online, regardless of the requestor.
- Monitor all accounts regularly to look for charges you didn’t make.
- Use the web addresses you know instead of clicking an email link.
- Limit the times your payment cards are scanned out of sight.
- Logout when done on secure sites.
It’s also important to defend against identity theft as soon as you suspect a problem.
The first step is to place a “Fraud Alert” on credit reports by calling any nationwide credit reporting company and reviewing for fraudulent activity. By placing a fraud alert on credit reports, it will tell creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make certain changes to existing accounts. You also will likely want to close accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently, file a police report, or contact the Federal Trade Commission.
Being aware is the first step! Be sure to keep an eye on your identity in the digital age. If you have any questions or would like to discuss it further, feel free to give me a call.